Several hundred new jobs are closer to reality in Valdosta now that work has started on a major retail expansion.
Crews have officially started work to build this, a $12 million expansion to Valdosta's Colonial Mall.
Folks who call south Georgia home say they are very excited because once work is done, several hundred job openings will be available.
David Newbern, who is glad to see job growth, says, "Valdosta is a growing community as you know, and any expansion that happens is a plus for Valdosta, and it sends the message to the outside community, ‘hey, Valdosta is really shining.’ "
John Fretti, Valdosta's Mayor, says, "It provides jobs, it provides sales tax dollars, it provides salaries and it pumps more money back into our economy and keeps it right here, and it brings folks from outside our city and into the region and brings more tax money here and we can use it for growth."
And officials say growing the sales tax base will also help lessen the burden on local property tax payers.
"We can depend more on our sales tax revenue and SPLOST money for investments and depend less on property taxes."
Meaning Valdosta job seekers and others will benefit from this retail expansion, which should be completed in about a year and a half.
Officials hope to begin the hiring process in about a year so employees will be trained and ready when the new stores open.